Rex Ryan: Jets can make playoffs

“Eight and eight would be a hell of a disappointment for us. I’m just telling you that I believe this team is on the cusp of doing some special things. . . . I’m confident we will be a playoff team.”

-Rex Ryan, in an interview with reporter Manish Mehta (NYDN, July 17).

NFL: Cleveland Browns at New York Jets

Geno Smith to get 75 percent of first-team reps

Geno Smith will reportedly get up to 75 percent of the first-team reps as he and veteran Michael Vick battle for the starting quarterback job (Fansided, July 17).

Though officials claim the two are on a level playing field, it’s pretty clear Smith already has the support of the young wide receivers as well.

David Nelson told Tuesday that he was mostly impressed by Smith’s maturity since last season.

“He is taking authority over the offense and taking command over that group,” Nelson said. “When you see that, you see guys who want to play for him and you see a bunch of guys start to embrace him. You’re going to see a much more cohesive unit this year because of his maturity and because of his understanding of the offense and how the NFL works as a whole.”

While Smith and Vick may be fighting for the starting spot, Vick has made it clear that he is happy to take on a mentor role for the young QB, as well as the other rookie players (FOXsports, July 17).

“I honestly think his experiences off the field has been a huge component of what he brings to the locker room,” said Nelson. “He’s been through a lot and had to overcome a lot of real-life stuff and he applies that to his game on the football field. He doesn’t let the small stuff get to him.”

Brian Bassett,

It’s interesting that someone would put a number on it, but it seems that it might be in line with what happens come camp next week.  Vick knows the offense and needs less time soaking it up.  The Jets want Geno to succeed and will do what it takes, but they also know what they have in their backup should the need arise.

Smith has made strides, but we’ll need to see how it plays out on the field this summer in camp and specifically in the preseason games before we can know for sure what the Jets might have this season.

TJB Hall of Fame – Shaun Ellis

We continue TJB Hall of Fame week with our third inductee of the week, Shaun Ellis, who played for the Jets for 11 years and made it to two pro bowls. Stay tuned for the final selection of this year’s class tomorrow.

Jake Steinberg,

Growing up in a younger generation, I’ve only had the opportunity to witness one player from this year’s class play in my lifetime. For that very reason, when I saw the nominees, I jumped on the chance to honor one of the all-time great Jets, and help induct him into the prestigious TJB HOF Class of 2014.

In the 2000 draft, with the Baltimore Ravens on the clock at pick No. 10, a young defensive line coach by the name of Rex Ryan was begging the front office to select a lineman out of the University of Tennessee by the name of Shaun Ellis.

After winning the first ever BCS National Championship in 1998 as a junior, Ellis came back for his senior year where he earned All-SEC honors his senior season. Ryan had seen enough film on the kid to believe he truly had what it took to be a star in the league. Unfortunately for the Ravens, (and fortunately for us), Ozzie Newsome and his staff ignored Ryan and selected Florida WR Travis Taylor. Ryan, little did he know, would one day get the opportunity to coach Ellis, albeit late in his career.

Jets general manager Bill Parcells had a plethora of draft picks (4) to work with that year. With many expecting him to wheel and deal, he instead held on to all four, selecting Ellis first at No. 11 before adding John Abraham, Chad Pennington and Anthony Becht later on.

To read more of this story, click here

Impact players: Veteran presence

Brian Bassett,

Over the next few days, we’re going to take a look at some key Jets players this season centered around a themes.  First up, we’ll look at five veterans who will need to have an important impact for this Jets team to fly high in 2014.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson (LT) – Ferguson came under fire for his play last year, but it bears mentioning that the Jets didn’t field a strong group of blocking tight ends to Brick’s left side and opponents were pinpointing attacking the left guard position on Ferguson’s right side.  Brick was exposed in an effort to help Vlad Ducasse and then Brian Winters.  Once Winters started to get his feet under him (literally) Ferguson demonstrated that he is still capable of great play, as his November 2013 game against the Bills Mario Williams.  If the Jets can settle in with some solid play from Winters at the left guard spot, it might go easier for Ferguson.  If they promote a backup like Oday Aboushi or Dakota Dozier, it might go harder for Brick.

Dawan Landry

What will Landry’s role be for the 2014 Jets?

Dawan Landry (S) — Landry might not start for the Jets again this season, but we expect that he will still be a key contributor to the team in both the meeting room and as backup and package player.  We wrote extensively on what the Jets might do with the Big Nickel this year, and we expect that Landry would play the more traditional strong safety role while Antonio Allen would flex out into the hybrid linebacker/safety spot that would better counter the two tight end and spread style offenses that are increasingly popular around the league.

Calvin Pace (DL/LB) — Pace had 10 sacks a year ago, the first time in his long career that he’s ever hit the double digit mark.  Pace’s impact this year has much less to do with his sack totals. We expect players like Quinton Coples or Antwan Barnes to pick up more pass rushing duties, but it comes back to his traditional area of strength, setting the edge for the defense.  A few months ago, Chris Nimbley wrote an excellent article for Jets Insider in which Bart Scott explains how valuable Pace was to the defense.  It is a must-read for anyone who struggles with understanding how crucial Pace’s role has been to this defense. To read more of this story, click here

TJB Podcast: We’re Back!

After an early summer break, Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett are back to talking Jets football. The guys discuss the availability of wide receiver Andre Johnson, Geno Smith’s Super Bowl declaration, and the defense that caused havoc in the AFC last season.

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  • Intro
  • Training Camp is fast approaching
  • Andre Johnson (10:10)
  • Geno’s Super Bowl talk
  • Corey’s Hot Take on Sheldon Richardson (21:20)
  • Jets Defensive Linemen
  • Jets Linebackers

GEICO SportsNite: The keys to the Jets season

Brian Custer and Ray Lucas discuss the keys to a successful season for the Jets, as they prepare for training camp next week.

Brian Bassett,

I see Lucas’s point  about Vick and its a fair one, but I’ll go the other way and say that while Vick’s ability to help Geno Smith’s learning curve, Decker and/or Johnson are just as if not more valuable because they will be the pieces that help Smith (or Vick) move the chains and score points for this offense.  They’ve missed playmakers and while Decker and Johnson don’t turn this team into the Broncos, they need a lot of production from those two players in particular to climb up the ladder to a respectable offense in 2014.

Love the comments on Calvin Pryor, hilarious.

Roster Battles: The second starting safety

Brian Bassett,

Here’s a chance to look at some of the position battles that should play out over training camp in the coming weeks.

Calvin PryorThe Setup: Last year the Jets went into the season with questions about how strong they could be in coverage.  Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett were better equipped to be “box” safeties; deployed around the line and their strengths left the Jets vulnerable in coverage.  The Jets took the opportunity to upgrade the coverage of the group by bringing in Ed Reed mid-season and while it seemed to work in December, the November adjustment period was rough.  This year, the Jets will deploy their rookie first round pick, Calvin Pryor, deep in coverage but who will start alongside him?

The Main Contenders: Antonio Allen, Dawan Landry

The Darkhorses: Jaiquawn Jarrett, Josh Bush, Rontez Miles

The Analysis: Rex Ryan has always preferred to have highly versatile players up the middle of his defense.  While in a perfect world, Calvin Pryor would be deployed near the line, but he is more than athletic and experienced to drop into deeper coverages until they sort out that second versatile player.  Dawan Landry is the veteran leader of the secondary and his knowledge of the Jets defense dating back to Baltimore is invaluable, but Landry’s coverage skills were never his strong suit and the Jets played Landry with the backups this spring so that young players like Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett could see more reps with the starters and sub-package players.

The Projection:  Allen seems to have the inside track for three reasons.  (1) Allen provides more speed, athleticism & versatility in both coverage and run-support than any other safety outside of Pryor, (2) Allen won one of the starting jobs last year prior to Ed Reed’s arrival and (3) in the spring the Jets were already trying out the Pryor-Allen tandem heavily.  Need more?  Allen took roughly half as many snaps as Landry did over the 2013, yet produced 42 tackles to Landry’s 62 and made the same amount of sacks (one apiece) and interceptions (one apiece) as the veteran.

If Pryor pulls the heavier coverage role, Allen would be a fine complement in the run-heavy role, but can drop in coverage when required. Jarrett was a reclamation project from the Eagles that seems to be working out for the Jets as a depth option and Rontez Miles makes most sense as a potential core special teamer this year.

Daily Links: More TD passes, fewer interceptions